Welcome to the first part of this 30 Days of Devotion to Lilith.
Once again I am posting along side of the Pagan Experience 2015 week three theme of Deity rather than on a daily basis as intended in the original 30DoD. If you think this post is missing references and links that’s because it is. As with my 30DoD to Pan most references and my recommended reading will appear with Part 3.
So without further ado let me introduce Lilith.
1) A basic introduction of the deity
Hail Lilith, Dark Goddess of Desert who rejected the Garden and its men
Night Hag, Child Killer, Unnatural Mother, the mention of Her name causes men and mothers to weep.
Seductress, Harlot, Murderess, drawing out our darkest lusts and our shadow-self to light.
Serpentine companion and handmaiden of Innana, when the owl screams and the goat brays your presence is felt.
Hail Lilith, Goddess Unbound, chainless and fearless your midnight presence is here.
© Vicky Newton
2) How did you become first aware of this deity?
One day whilst I was performing a devotion to Hekate and asked for guidance in naming my daughter. I felt a subtle shift in the energies around me and a second presence joined me in meditation. They were similar to Hekate; dark, old, a strong female presence I felt a strong reverence toward but I could feel that this was not Hekate for she was at my side. Stood in the shadow by the tree, partially hidden from view, the Other waited but when I asked for her name I was given conflicting symbols. The Owl, The Snake, The Tree. All very Heketean but also not all at the same time. As I ended my devotion I asked Hekate for more guidance. The next day there was a veritable explosion of references to Lilith, of posts and discussions about this creature from the depths of the Arabian desert. It doesn’t get much clearer than that and everything started from there.
3) Symbols and icons of this deity
Owl, Snake, Tree, Lily
4)A favourite myth or myths of this deity
Soon afterward the young son of the king took ill. Said Nebuchadnezzar, “Heal my son. If you don’t, I will kill you.” Ben Sira immediately sat down and wrote an amulet with the Holy Name, and he inscribed on it the angels in charge of medicine by their names, forms, and images, and by their wings, hands, and feet. Nebuchadnezzar looked at the amulet. “Who are these?”
“The angels who are in charge of medicine: Snvi, Snsvi, and Smnglof (in English: Senoy, Sansenoy and Semangelof). While God created Adam, who was alone, He said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone’ (Genesis2:18). He also created a woman, from the earth, as He had created Adam himself, and called her Lilith. Adam and Lilith immediately began to fight. She said, ‘I will not lie below,’ and he said, ‘I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while I am to be the superior one.’ Lilith responded, ‘We are equal to each other inasmuch as we were both created from the earth.’ But they would not listen to one another. When Lilith saw this, she pronounced the Ineffable Name and flew away into the air. Adam stood in prayer before his Creator: ‘Sovereign of the universe!’ he said, ‘the woman you gave me has run away.’ At once, the Holy One, blessed be He, sent these three angels to bring her back.
“Said the Holy One to Adam, ‘If she agrees to come back, what is made is good. If not, she must permit one hundred of her children to die every day.’ The angels left God and pursued Lilith, whom they overtook in the midst of the sea, in the mighty waters wherein the Egyptians were destined to drown. They told her God’s word, but she did not wish to return. The angels said, ‘We shall drown you in the sea.’
“‘Leave me!’ she said. ‘I was created only to cause sickness to infants. If the infant is male, I have dominion over him for eight days after his birth, and if female, for twenty days.’
“When the angels heard Lilith’s words, they insisted she go back. But she swore to them by the name of the living and eternal God: ‘Whenever I see you or your names or your forms in an amulet, I will have no power over that infant.’ She also agreed to have one hundred of her children die every day. Accordingly, every day one hundred demons perish, and for the same reason, we write the angels names on the amulets of young children. When Lilith sees their names, she remembers her oath, and the child recovers.”
Alphabet of ben Sirach (Alphabetum Siracidis, Othijoth ben Sira) 5
As deleted biblical scenes go this is my favourite version of the creation of Lilith and her flight from the Garden. There are variations out there but some of the language in this version drives homes some of the key issues.
In it Lilith is created from the earth of the Garden, there is no difference made between the material that made her and that which made Adam. They are equal in all senses and this strengthens the sense of attempted domination by Adam when he claims “For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while I am to be the superior one”. Lilith knows her worth, she was created by God from the same stuff as Adam and she’s not about to forget it. When it is clear that Adam will not acknowledge her worth she leaves him and the Garden. Adam’s statement of ‘the woman you gave me has run away’ confirms that his opinion of the whole set up was that Lilith was his, a subservient piece of property. Such an arrangement doesn’t really suit Lilith’s temperament and this can be seen in her response.
The resultant conversation neatly outlines her place within the Jewish world view; she is a child killer, threatening not only the children of Eve but her own through her bargaining for freedom.
5) Members of the family – genealogical connections
Adam – Lilith is often fitted into the position of the First Wife of Adam to explain the discrepancies in the bible around the first woman created the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam.
Azazel – the Seed of Lilith and first born of the Nelphlim. Father was said to be Semjaza, leader of the Watchers. Azazel can be seen as a cut above the normal Nelphlim, who father was an Angel and mother was a mortal woman. His father was the most powerful of the Watchers and his mother the first wife of Adam, created from the Earth by the hand of God, thus he is ascribed more power than most Nelphlim for he lacks the element of humanity that most poses.
6) Other related deities and entities associated with this deity
Samael – Samael is a major demon within demonology both Jewish and Christian. He is listed as the “Chief of the Satans”, the wickedest of Angels who despite this serves God’s will. Just as God and Shekina represent a Heavenly Marriage of male and female divine Samael and Lilith represent this pairing below (personifying the phrase ‘as above so below’). Samael is also called “the Angle of Death” with a secondary translation of his name being “the Gall of God”.
Lucifer – also a consort of Lilith, Lucifer only appears once in the Bible (Isaiah 14:12) although not all translations use his name rather its meaning “morning star” or “bringer of light”. In truth Isaiah 14:12 is actually making reference to King Nebuchadnezzar and not Lucifer himself. Lucifer is commonly conflated with Satan, hence there are many confusing and conflated theories about him. From a modern Lucifarian point of view Lucifer is a bringer of wisdom and knowledge, having a dualistic nature which is often partnered with Lilith as a representation of the female side of the coin.
Adam and Eve – As already explaining Lilith is described as the First Wife of Adam, and is said to return to her after He and Eve leave the Garden, during which time he fathers a host of demons upon her. Eve on the other hand is the second wife, she is the one who listens to the whispering of the snake and cases the Fall of Mankind. Cursed to give birth in pain and anguish as a result of her folly, she is granted the knowledge that her seed, one of her children, will one day overcome the Serpent and her seed as the Messiha.
The Jewish God – YHWH/Yahweh/Jehovah is described as creating Lilith from the dirt and detritus as a companion for Adam. He attempts to exert his will over her as his creation when she flees the Garden. When Shekina descends to her people to guide them Lilith, her handmaiden and opposite in the quaternion marriage, partners God in heaven.
Shekhina – The female element of God, she is the heavenly counterpart to Lilith
The Archangels – Senoy, Sansenoy and Semangelof, the three archangels sent to retrieve Lilith and return her to the Garden. Where their three names are inscribed to protect a new born child the spirit of Lilith is turned away, reminded of her pledge to them.
The Nelphlim – The Watchers, a race of Giant like men who threatened the sercurity of the Children of Adam and were destroyed when God sent the Great Flood. Lilith was said to have mated with their leader Semjaza to become pregnant with Azazel.
Inanna/Ishtar – Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, she was revered as the Queen of Heaven. Lilith and Inanna are sometimes conflated, see the The Burney Relief, however Lilith is subservient to the Goddess in Sumarian myth and goes forth and gathers men from the field in advance of sacred sexual rites.
Lila/u – as well as being the demon spirit that is credited as being the father of the hero Gilgamesh Lila/u is also a demon who is sometimes described as being an incubus. He is the sometime companion of Lilith and on of her names is Ki-sikil-lil-la-ke “companion/consort of Lila”
Gilgamesh – hero of the Epic of Gilgamesh, he drives Lilith and the Anzu-bird from the Huluppu Tree of Inanna when he kills the great serpent that makes his home there. The tale of the Huluppu Trea is seen by some to be synchronous with the tale of Lilith in the Garden of Eden, with the Huluppu Tree being the Tree of Knowledge, the snake and Lilith being the Serpent in the Garden and the slight of the Anzu-bird mirroring the flight of Lilith from the Garden.
Ardat lili – “Lilith’s handmaid”, who would come to men in their sleep and cause “night emissions”. These are the succubus attendants of the great Night Hag herself.
Irdu lili – the incubus counterpart to Ardat lili.
7) Names and epithets
Ardatu – “The Beautiful Maiden”. She was infertile and had no milk in her breasts.
Ardat – Lilith is sometimes referred to as the ‘Hand maiden of Inanna’ or ‘Hand of Inanna’, a divine prostitute of the Goddess Inanna.
Hnqt – “strangler” this is in reference to her killing newborns, as well as the death of potential children (in the form of wet dreams in men)
Night Hag – Refers to her supposed responsibility for night time emissions and sleep paralysis / nightmares.
Ki-sikil-lil-la-ke – the companion or consort of Lila’s, Lila is one variation of the name given to the male demon credited with being the father of Gilgamesh
Ki-sikil-ud-da-ka-ra – “the maiden who has stolen the light” or ” the maiden who has seized the light”, this hints at the darker aspects of Lilith.
8) Variations on this deity (aspects, regional forms, etc.)
Vardat Lilitu or Maiden Lilitu – female spirits associated with sumarian witchcraft, in particular Lilitu are seen as desert storm demons. In this form she is the bringer of corruption
9) Common mistakes about this deity
UPG is a powerful thing, and people often cling hard to it. I will go into a little more detail later in this 30 DoD however I feel that the most common mistake is that Lilith is the Mother of Vampires. Obviously if a) Vampires turn out to be real and b)Lilith turns out to be their originator I will have a great deal of egg on my face but for now, this is the most common new age misconception that I know about.
10) Offerings – historical and UPG
Red Wine or red juice
Portions of ritual food such as small cakes,
Sex (or sensuality if you don’t feel that this is appropriate for you)
Music, dance, anything that requires energy will please her, the importance is in dedicating the energy and sensation to Lilith. In performing the activity you should savour it and in turn so will she.
Colours of Red, Black and Deep Violet